Reading Welsh and Maineiac mysteries together, hoping to discover clues as to the state of The God’s Cycle corpus. Is it dead or alive? Pairing the Maineiac and the Welsh is not inappropriate because there are parallels in this coupling. The Maineiac is not a Mainer born and bred, but one “from away,” someone just crazy enough — wanting to live here despite the covert/overt challenge. The Welsh, as everyone in the UK knows, are plain crazy. The English of long ago absconded with Britain and the true King Arthur. The Irish (slightly less crazy Celts) absconded with St. Patrick, but that’s another history.
Really you’ve got to expect it. I didn’t know Mark Twain had written detective fiction. Of course he did. Of course he satirizes Sherlock Holmes! Of course the story is set it in a mining camp out West, there being precedent in Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, published fifteen years before. And of course Twain called his A Double-barreled Detective Story.
The double-barreled is metaphor for two detectives working on the same murder case. Sherlock Holmes uses observation and scientific analysis. Archie Stillman (non de plume) uses his nose for scent analysis. Each detective has strengths and weaknesses — Sherlock Holmes’ weakness is Mark Twain — who burlesqued him mercilessly. (Almost)
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The recent death of Stephen Hawking has me thinking about the history of the famous construct, black holes. According to Wikipedia these were proposed more as black voids by astronomer and English clergyman John Michell in 1784. One aspect smote the imagination: that of sun-in-reverse, a star’s diameter would exceed the sun’s “by a factor of 500, and the surface escape velocity” (minimal speed needed to escape the influence of gravity) would prevail. This, it was thought, would exceed light speed. The imagination back then was seeing invisible stars “hiding in plain view.” Later, the posited wavelike nature of light superseded the theory. Still, black holes had passed the event horizon of the academic imagination (as it were) in 1784.
This embedded link entry’s title, “Jackman’s Dilemma” plays off the title Jackson’s Dilemma, a mid-1990s novel by Englishwoman Iris Murdoch.
The novel is set in both London and the rural estate surroundings of the Village of Lipcott. The nearby River Lip runs through these estates near the eponymous village. Lipcott is shown interested in family doings, much like any rural community — invested in the interest and entertainment of its attentive gossip and surmise. Much like the Upper Midwestern American town, Sinclair Lewis’s Gopher Prairie, and other rural communities like Jackman Maine, and my town-fiction, Gottheim.
See part one here: view from the edge of elfland
Are we there yet? I appear, at least, to be dragging my verbal and metaphoric feet in working up this response to David Russell Mosley’s On the Edges of Elfland. Remember, it was a promise to try for a response. These qualifiers made a good hedge for me to hide behind.
I liked Alfred’s character. His underlying uncertainty combines with pathos in a subtle but felt sympathy. I feel with and for him. It would take another reading for me to distinguish the many characters (types) as they begin multiplying: dwarves, gnomes, elves, goblins, fairies, at least two dragons both of which Alfred slew, and hobgoblins, giants; perhaps strangest of all—humans. Continue reading
A bit of off-topic horn-tooting to let you know about FELLOWSHIP AND FAIRYDUST. They publish fan fiction and essays about the fantastic.
The beautiful image by Elena Kukanova depicts Finrod Felegund teaching Men through song in the elvish discovery of Eru’s other children. I wrote the first draft of the four volume book over 25 years ago.
same story, slightly better written, currently 1.99 softcover.
(updated couple days later, 11-11: amazon changed the price again! again, –not my choice.)
This is not a post about politics but a play on current events. Really, I just want to interest readers in The God’s Cycle. The setting of these books is actually 35 years ago–(available everywhere, print or e.). In the U.S. America, time is now right to capture attention for rural qualities. These books are full of what it’s like to live here now and 35 ago. (Although the population has grown through influx.) Some industry has gone from Maine, wood-turning, shoe-making and textiles for instance; and much of the paper-making. The only other thing missing in the early-mid 1980s setting is the device in your hand — or otherwise at your fingertips. Maybe our fancy doesn’t need that gadget appearing during the invisible imaginative experience?
These books are sold individually or together in one volume. They are on the Amazon author’s page (sidebar link below) and elsewhere–full of community, character, mountains rivers woodlands diners and the I.I.C.E. (International Institute of Coordinated Experiments). Also love, loggers, mechanics, paper and pulp mills, uncanny animal critters, and hell.
What’s not to like?